spring/summer reads

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.” 
- Stephen King


The Shell Seekers - Rosamunde Pilcher

A while back, my mother gave me a stack of books she recommended and which I promptly put on a shelf to read after I'd read through my own stack.  Well, this was the book on top of the pile and I have to tell you, I was pretty hesitant about it.  The cover kind of makes it look like a sappy romance novel and it's over 500 pages long.  Plus the type is pretty tiny.  I wasn't super excited, but I picked it up one afternoon to peruse the prologue and...couldn't put it down.  The story takes place in London, the English countryside, pristine Spanish beaches, and wartime Cornwall. I just got lost in her character development, the scenery, and this family that the story is centered on.  It's a lovely read that leaves me with a better vocabulary and wishing for more.  And it makes me want to move back to England ASAP.

 Saved By Her Enemy - Don Teague and Rafraf Barrak

Ok, let's be honest here.  This is not normally the kind of book I would pick up.  If the books I read in my free time fail to make me smile and lift me up, they're not normally something I choose to read, but this was another book recommended by mom and, you know what, it was a tough real life story, but it was worth reading.  It is a chronicle of friendship between a Iraqi woman and a NBC news correspondent during the US invasion of Baghdad and, thought it's not easy to read about, I learned a lot about the US's involvement in the war and about Iraqi culture.  I also closed that book with thankfulness in my heart to have been born an American citizen. 

Words of Radiance - Brandon Sanderson

Alright.  It's ok.  You can label me a nerd, but David and I enjoy listening to books on tape together and Brandon Sanderson writes some darn fun fantasy nonfiction.  Fantasy books walk a fine line of being dorky beyond belief and just being darn entertaining - this book walks that line, but doesn't tip over into the oh gosh I can't believe I'm reading this side, so I'm satisfied.  I seriously resisted listening to his books back when David and I were starting to enjoy books on tape, but I've finally given in.  This is the second book in (one of) Sanderson's sagas and we really enjoyed it, in all its nerdy glory.

 Princess Elizabeth's Spy - Susan Elia Macneal

Alright, I read this book out of order in the series.  There's actually one before it called Mr. Churchill's Secretary, but oh well.  This was a fun mystery novel with all sorts of good twists set in WWII England in the middle of MI-5.  I was surprised that it was a tad racy - nothing crazy - but definitely colorful.  And, if I'm really being honest, half of me just loved reading it for the descriptions of Britain and the royal family.  All in all, a good mystery novel - and now I think I need to go find the first book...

Unbroken - Laura Hillenbrand

I know this story has gotten a lot of hype lately (mostly because they're making it into a movie), but it is definitely worth reading.  It follows the story of young Louie Zamperini - Olympic runner, WWII bomber, plane crash survivor, shark fighter, Japanese prisoner of war, and unbreakable spirit.  His story is incredible, I mean, really incredible.  And did I mention this is all historical?  Louie actually just passed away a few days after I finished his memoir at the ripe age of 97.  My mom got to see him speak a few years back and she said he was still sharp as a tack and energetic as ever.  What a guy. 

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